Renovating Vs. Rebuilding: Which Should You Do?

One of the most difficult decisions when making improvements to a home is do you renovate or start over from scratch? Perhaps you inherited a really old home and want to preserve it, then renovation is a no-brainer because it allows you to make the necessary repairs in order to keep it functional while preserving its features. A house that has been seriously damaged or has structural issues, on the other hand, may have to be rebuilt to get the desired results.

Renovating usually involves less work than rebuilding since you can work with the existing structure. While renovating is more about upgrading, rebuilding involves a completely fresh start. This can be an exciting project to look forward to as it means you will be getting a brand new home at the end of the process. There are several things to consider as you make this important decision, and factors like sentimental worth, property value, and time constraints are all crucial, explains The Three Birds.

What are the differences in cost?

When it comes to choosing between renovation and rebuilding, it is crucial to identify your needs. Knowing your needs will help you determine which option will cost more as you can budget for the labor and resources needed. In general, it costs more to rebuild since it requires demolishing the existing structure than building a new one. 

However, in certain circumstances, it can be more expensive to renovate, especially when there are many aspects of the home that need to be changed or replaced. In addition, Real Estate AU notes that new homes are easier to maintain and are not as susceptible to structural issues as older homes, which can save you money in the long term.

Pros and cons of renovating

If you intend to live in the property while it's undergoing changes, renovating is the best option. Renovations can take place in phases, unlike rebuilding which needs to be done all at once. You can plan in such a way that you move around the house based on which rooms are completed. Another important factor is time, depending on if it's just one room or minor changes, it can be completed in a shorter period.

One drawback of renovating is that it involves a lot of investment. If there are aspects of the home that you want to restore, intricate planning and care are needed before and during the process. The new aspects of the home need to match with the old ones, which may not always be straightforward. Another disadvantage of renovation is overcapitalization, which means improving a property beyond its resale value. To avoid this, Undercover Architect strongly advises checking with agents in your area first, to see if renovating is cost-effective.

Pros and cons of rebuilding

One downside of rebuilding is that it can be the more expensive option since it requires more resources. Additionally, rebuilding takes more time and may require you to find alternative housing and potentially be inconvenienced for a considerable amount of time. Another thing to be mindful of is that when you rebuild, you lose any sentimental value you had in the original home.

On the other hand, the good thing about rebuilding is that new homes are easier to manage and you won't have to worry about cohesion between the old and new as you would if you renovated, per Real Estate AU. Moreover, rebuilding usually doesn't require you to be too involved in the process. You can simply hand over the project to a team of professionals, and since you won't be in the home while it's being rebuilt, you can separate yourself from the process and get some time and space until the finished project is ready for you.

When to choose renovating over rebuilding

Renovation is the best route if the property needs minor alterations that are more or less straightforward. If there are specific things that you want to change, such as upgrading the structure, taking out old ceilings, replacing outdated electrical systems, or ripping up old flooring and putting in new then a rebuild may be unnecessary. If you are attached to the current design of your home and have a tight budget, LT & Associates say renovate!

Renovations are also less time-consuming. There is usually less work to be done and there are fewer approvals needed as opposed to rebuilding. A whole new building project will need permits and inspections, and there are various laws that need to be followed, explains Family Handyman. If your renovation involves installing new flooring or doing some minimal plumbing work, for example, you might not need any permits at all.

Benefits of rebuilding

If you get excited at the possibility of a brand new building that fits your tastes perfectly, rebuilding allows you more opportunities and doesn't limit you in the same way that renovating does. If you have a clear vision for your home and don't want to compromise, rebuild! 

Another reason to rebuild is if the issues with your home are so complex and costly that it might take more resources to renovate. This can include making changes like removing multiple walls, adding rooms, or changing the size or layout of the entire home. Newer homes also allow homeowners to prioritize sustainability and energy efficiency. When done right, a brand new home could have two or three times the value of the home that used to stand in its spot, suggests NewHomeSource. This is great in terms of general real estate significance and any resale plans you might have.